Oceaneering, McDermott representatives see positive outlook for oil industry

MORGAN CITY, La. — Oceaneering International in Morgan City expects to see increasing employment over the few years while McDermott International in Amelia has a positive outlook for the oil and gas industry’s long-term future, said local company representatives.

Duane Lodrigue, Americas region human resources manager for Oceaneering, and Brian Gautreaux, operations manager for McDermott International in Morgan City, gave updates on their respective companies and industries at the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce Business Luncheon Wednesday at the Petroleum Club of Morgan City.

Oceaneering is a global company that provides engineering services products, primarily in deep water, Lodrigue said.

McDermott International is an engineering procurement, construction and installation company focused on offshore oil and gas projects worldwide, according to its website.

Lodrigue said Oceaneering employment in Morgan City should increase “based on the work we see coming up.”

Running remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, is a “very strong business for us,” with 47 percent of its oilfield services profit coming from ROVs, he said.

In 2007, Oceaneering had 1,396 employees when it originally moved into the city and now they have about 1,950 employees, Lodrigue said.

The evolution of remotely operated vehicles and the designs have changed over the past several years with companies wanting to know how much payload can be loaded onto the vehicles, Lodrigue said. The company has built 16 ROV systems so far in 2013.

“One of the biggest things that we do in Morgan City besides run ROV operations is manufacturing. We manufacture for the worldwide fleet of Oceaneering,” Lodrigue said. Since the BP oil spill, manufacturing work for Oceaneering has been “trending up,” he said.

The Millennium is the most common ROV that Oceaneering deals and manufactures in Morgan City. It is about the size of a Suburban and weighs about 6,800 pounds, he said.

In 2007, Oceaneering International, which has 67 locations worldwide, moved one of its sites from Bayou Vista to Morgan City, Lodrigue said.

McDermott’s Gautreaux said predictions for the future of the oil and gas industry are “pretty positive.” Trends are showing that oil prices will to stay above $100 a barrel, he said.

Gautreaux said, “$100 to $120 (per barrel) is a number that works well with the market and seems not to have any negative effects on the economy.”

While Gautreaux sees a positive long-term future for the industry, the forecast in the short term is not as bright, he said. “We’re optimistic there are things that come up, but on the short term it’s going to be kind of tough.”

Gautreaux said, locally, McDermott International is working on several ongoing projects at its yard in Amelia. Two living quarters and a compression module are under construction.

McDermott is also working on two deck and jacket offshore platform projects at its yard, the Shell West Delta project and Williams Discovery project, he said.

McDermott recently had a deep water draft barge sail out from Morgan City, which was “real successful,” and received help from the Corps of Engineers and had “no problems going out,” Gautreaux said.

Locally, McDermott has “many bookings” from companies for projects beyond 2013, he said.

Globally, unconventional oil and gas and shale development is going to be “one of the big development areas, first in the United States and then the rest of the world,” Gautreaux said.

In addition to constructing ROVs, Oceaneering also trains ROV technicians in a six-week course, Lodrigue said. Since 2007, the company has hired 950 ROV technicians with 825 of those technicians having gone through the company’s training course.

In the past several months, Oceaneering made another addition to its facility where the company moved its manufacturing division out of the front of the site, consolidated the Deepwater Technical Solutions site from Bayou Vista and added about 30,000 square feet, Lodrigue said.

Gautreaux said future energy can come from shale and natural gas production. More than 200 years supply of shale and natural gas has already been identified, he said. Technological advances should allow the industry to continue to grow, he said.

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